Zimbabwe Women reach semi-finals despite shock defeat
Zimbabwe Women – 120-7 in 20 overs (Sharne Mayers 23, Modester Mupachikwa 22, Chipo Mugeri-Tiripano 16; Vaishnave Mahesh 3/15, Khushi Sharma 2/31, Samaira Dharnidharka 1/10)
United Arab Emirates Women – 121-6 in 20 overs (Kavisha Egodage 41*, Esha Oza 36, Vaishnave Mahesh 9*; Loreen Tshuma 2/18, Kelis Ndlovu 2/20, Nomvelo Sibanda 1/21)
United Arab Emirates Women won by four wickets
Zimbabwe Women are through to the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2022 semi-finals despite suffering a shock four-wicket defeat at the hands of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Women in their final group match played at the Tolerance Oval in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
With 14 runs required off the last over, victory had seemed virtually impossible for the hosts.
However, in a dramatic finish to the match, Nomvelo Sibanda conceded four wides off the penultimate ball and, with four needed off the very last ball, Vaishnave Mahesh flicked on through the legside, where a misfield gave UAE Women a boundary and an astonishing win.
Zimbabwe Women had opted to bat first after winning the toss, with Esther Mbofana and Christabel Chatonzwa coming in for Josephine Nkomo and Audrey Mazvishaya in the only changes to the team.
Sharne Mayers and Kelis Ndlovu scored 23 and eight respectively before Mahesh dismissed both openers, making it 42 for two after 7.5 overs.
In the 11th over, they were down to 57 for three after Chipo Mugeri-Tiripano, who chipped in with 16, was caught by Samaira Dharnidharka off the bowling of Khushi Sharma.
Although Zimbabwe Women kept building the innings with a series of small stands, none of the partnerships really took off as UAE Women kept a leash on the scoring rate with frequent wickets.
Mary-Anne Musonda and Modester Mupachikwa contributed 32 before Mahesh struck again, getting Musonda caught for 15 by Edogage – 89 for four in the 16th over.
The final push also never quite materialised for Zimbabwe Women, with Sharma bowling the well-set Modester Mupachikwafor 22 immediately after dismissing Pellagia Mujaji for 13 in the same over, the 19th, the score now being 109 for six.
The innings then petered out to 120 for seven at the completion of the 20 overs.
The run chase started off badly for UAE Women, as Sibanda sent opener Theertha Satish back to the pavilion off the second ball with only four runs on the board.
However, Esha Oza and Kavisha Edogage were clearly unperturbed by the early blow as they built a 57-run stand for the second wicket to put the tournament hosts on top.
The partnership was broken off the final ball of the 10th over, with Loreen Tshuma dismissing Oza for 36, scored off 26 balls with two sixes and three fours.
Tshuma then added the wicket of Sharma (8) before Ndlovu struck a double blow, claiming the wickets of Chaya Mughal (4) and Priyanjali Jain (3) to bring Zimbabwe Women back into the contest at 102 for four in the 19th over.
However, while wickets tumbled, at the other end Egodage kept UAE Women in the hunt with a steady innings that took the game to the very last over.
Having conceded only nine runs in her opening spell of two overs, Sibanda was given the responsibility to hammer the final nail in the coffin of their opponents by defending the 14 needed for victory.
But that was not to be as UAE Women stunned the favourites by reaching their target in exactly 20 overs, with Egodage remaining unbeaten on 41, a brilliant knock that came off 57 deliveries and included three fours.
Despite the defeat, Zimbabwe Women still finished as Group B winners to set up a semi-final against Ireland Women scheduled for Friday.